It’s all very well for David Cameron to come within an inch of suggesting that Conservatives should vote tactically, i.e. for the SNP. But, even with that endorsement and the glib, condescending tone of Ed Balls’ recent visit to goad you, I’m still not sure that many of the true blue would follow such guidance without further incentive.
Allow me to offer the circa 6,000 Conservatves in East Lothian a cast-iron case.
First of all, whatever misgivings you may have about independence, there would have to be a full referendum before any move in that direction, even if the SNP return as the Scottish Government. There is little else in our manifesto to disturb you. Second, the sole alternative to the SNP here is Labour. However loyal you may be to the Conservative cause, there is no more chance of winning here than of Annabelle entering Bute House this time round. Consider us the lesser of evils.
But finally, and most compelling, if you are genuinely enthused with the prospect of electing Derek Brownlee—a capable young man who has earned much respect—you don’t even have to vote for him. As well as standing in East Lothian, he is top of the Conservative list for South of Scotland. Unless the Conservative vote drops below 7% (something nobody expects) he will be elected as a list MSP automatically. Voting for him with your constituency vote would simply increases the chance that Labour will retain East Lothian, despite the strongest threat they have ever seen.
So don’t waste your vote on third place: vote for Dave Berry and the SNP. While Leader of ELC, Dave worked with the Conservative group there to the benefit of East Lothian. Voting for Dave gives you the best of three worlds, with no down side:
- Your man Derek Brownlee is elected anyway
- Dave Berry, a formidable local champion, is elected
- Labour (and their taking East Lothian for granted) comes to an end